Report reveals hope for Sunshine Coast jobs upturn
AN ECONOMIC report released by the University of the Sunshine Coast has revealed cause for optimism, with the region well placed to prosper.
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Property and Development Mike Hefferan said there was room for improvement, but the Coast's economic outlook was far from bleak.
"We've got a good, stable base, good prospects with sectors that are going to matter in the future ... and the Coast has got much more potential to be its own place," Prof Hefferan said.
The independent study conducted by the local university identified health care and social assistance as the largest fields of employment on the Coast, and retail and construction also remained strong.
Mining had experienced the largest rise in employment, with more than a 140% increase from 2006 to 2011.
Prof Hefferan said Coast locals could benefit from the increase in infrastructure and construction projects coinciding with the wind-up of mining jobs.
"There are reasonable signs in tourism and construction that things are picking up," he said.
"The Coast needs to up skill to take advantage of that."
TAFE East Coast general manager Paul Wilson agreed locals in training were well placed to be qualified and secure construction jobs in the future.
"Certainly the last couple of years there's been a bit of a downturn," Mr Wilson said.
"The construction and service sectors on the Coast are going to need guys with wider skill areas (than specified mining construction qualifications)," he said.
The report also revealed potential problems.
Income from cash benefits was higher than the rest of the State, as was age, with the Coast home to a higher percentage of people aged between 44 to 85 and over, than the rest of Queensland.
Meanwhile, the median salary for employed people on the Coast as of 2011 was $82 less than the rest of Queensland, and $131 less than Brisbane.
However, education levels had more than doubled from 2001 to 2011, with bachelor degrees or higher shooting from 18,065 in 2001, to 36, 558 in 2011, an increase of 102.4%.
AT A GLANCE
Income from cash benefits on the Coast higher than the rest of the state
46.2% of the Coast population aged 45 and older in 2012
The Coast median salary as at 2011 was $793, compared with $924 in Brisbane and $897 for Australia
In 2011, 75.6% (102, 179) of Coasters lived and worked on the Coast